PLATTSBURGH — When Ian Bellerive was just 13, he heard about Skate4Cancer and was inspired by the organization’s message of hope and awareness.
Now 18, the Plattsburgh High School senior is putting his inspiration into action and pushing himself to prove there is power in numbers and local support for cancer education and research.
After losing two grandparents to the disease, Bellerive knows firsthand how devastating the diagnosis can be for patients and their loved ones.
“It seems like everyone I know is somehow affected by it,” he said. “Everyone knows someone with cancer.”
So when Bellerive had to come up with a project for the National Honor Society, he knew what he wanted to do and that he wanted to make a lasting impression locally.
“I wanted to do something meaningful, and I wanted to do something personal,” he said.
“I knew I had to do something big and get people involved.”
That’s why this Sunday, Bellerive will head for U.S. Oval in Plattsburgh, where he will skateboard 50 miles for cancer awareness and to fundraise for a cure.
Bellerive got the idea from Skate4Cancer founder Rob Dyer, who has skateboarded more than 25,000 kilometers across the world since 2004 to unite people in cancer awareness and education.
The local teen met Dyer at the Vans Warped Tour in Montreal in 2012 and was moved into action last summer, when he decided to skateboard 1,000 miles around the U.S. Oval with that same aim.
But, he said, “at the end of the long journey, not many people knew what I was doing skateboarding a big city circle all day. Because I saw this as a failure, I am committed to re-skating it this summer.”
Kicking off his second 1,000-mile skate this Sunday is Ride to Raise, a public fundraiser and promotional awareness event.
Bellerive hopes community members will come out to support his goal and skateboard, bike, walk or run a few miles with him as he completes the first 50 miles of his 1,000-mile goal.
Planning to start at 10 a.m., Bellerive expects it will take several hours to chalk off that first 50 miles and hopes to raise between $500 and $1,000 to share between Skate4Cancer’s Dream Love Cure Center and the Wellspring Cancer Center.
Those attending the event can donate to Bellerive’s cause through a dropbox.
“I don’t expect anyone to do the 50 miles with me, but it would be great for people to come out and do a few laps and show that there is power in numbers,” he said.
“In my personal belief, the cure really is knowledge.”
The fundraiser will be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.
“I just want people affected by cancer to know that they’re never really alone in their fight.”
HOW TO HELP
To donate to Ride to Raise, make checks out to Plattsburgh High School's National Honor Society and mail to 1 Clifford Drive, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, or 132 South Peru St., Plattsburgh, NY 12901.
For more information about the Ride to Raise event, search for Ride to Raise on Facebook. Information about Skate4Cancer can be found at DreamLoveCure.org. Learn more about Wellspring Cancer Centre, go to www.wellspring.ca.